You know better than to stay up so late. You hear all the time how much you need to get your rest. Your body needs to recharge. Your mind needs to rejuvenate. Your attitude needs to adjust. Sleep is the key to all of that. Sleep matters.
It’s just that there’s so much to do. What does it hurt to shave off a few hours of rest?
Why is sleep such a big deal?
Why not put down your third cup of coffee and consider the benefits of a healthy bedtime routine:
Mental and physical health are reliant on proper rest.
The average adult is best served by 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly.
Clarity, heightened concentration, and elevated mood are directly linked to sleep.
Lack of sleep can contribute to irritability and aggression.
Sleep deprivation creates cravings for fat-inducing, sugary, carb-rich foods.
Insufficient amounts of sleep and rest lead to a compromised immune system.
Research indicates that sleep affects how well we learn information and retain it.
Lack of adequate sleep affects motivation, appropriate judgment and perception.
Deep, consolidated sleep over the course of each night secures the best mental and physical health situation.
Attempts to “make up” lost sleep are also rarely successful. You might feel a bit better on the weekends by making up the “sleep debt” incurred during the week; however, oversleeping usually leaves you feeling less alert and more groggy and lethargic.
What’s the best way to avoid the consequences of sleep deprivation, insomnia, and insufficient amounts of restorative deep sleep?
It’s simple: A bedtime routine could change your life.
An important part of securing the best sleep possible is to understand how to wind down. To rest well, take the following steps:
1. Create a favorable sleep environment. To obtain the best rest, discipline yourself to view your bed as a place for sleep only. Distractions like texting, social media, paperwork, TV, etc., should not be bedtime activities. When it’s time to go to sleep, incorporate the following:
A dark, slightly cool room (about 68 degrees). Shut off all forms of artificial light from media screens, even your digital clock. (Research shows they keep your brain on alert.)
A comfortably firm mattress.
A white noise machine, if it helps soothe you.
Exposure to natural light upon waking to ensure the proper sleep-wake cycle.
2. Practice proper “sleep hygiene.” According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep hygiene is the group of bedtime activities “necessary to have normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.” Try the following do’s and don’ts:
Do employ relaxing exercises like progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing.
Do enjoy sex before (not during!) bedtime, as it may help you sleep soundly.
Don’t nap earlier in the day. Keep sleep cycles regulated.
Don’t drink caffeine, alcohol, or smoke right before bedtime.
Don’t do stimulating exercise. Yoga is preferable to kickboxing.
3. Drop your concerns at the bedroom door. Dial back anxious thoughts and commit to a calm sleep experience nightly. Easier said than done? Here are a few helpful ways to put your mind at ease before heading for bed:
Save the fight until tomorrow. Avoid disturbing or confrontational discussions at bedtime.
Jot down worries in a journal.
List to-do’s in a planner or on a calendar.
Employ meditation techniques to train your mind to rest.
Focus intentionally on positive thoughts and happy memories.
Practice mental relaxation exercises like counting backward.
Reject the idea that feeling frazzled, irritable, groggy, or just plain exhausted is a fact of life.
Take control of your health and well-being.Turn off the phone, tablet, laptop or TV. Lights out .Get some sleep.